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UK DCM / Russia St. George


Hugh
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I've just finished reading Old Soldiers Never Die by Frank Richards, DCM, MM. It's one of the few accounts of the war by an enlisted man / other rank. Richards had served in India and was a reservist when the war started. He arrived in France on August 10th, 1914 and served in the trenches until after the Armistice. It's a great read for anyone who wants the worms-eye view of the war.

On page 196 he states that a comrade had "...won the D. C. M. and Russian Order of St. George, which always went with the D. C. M in the early part of the war." Not that I doubt him, but can anyone confirm? If so, what rank of St. George was typically awarded?

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Hi Hugh,

My memory failed me, but I have found some notes in my administration.

The group consisted of DSM (LG 17.5.1918 p.5860), Africa GSM w. "Somaliland 1908-10" (Hyacinth), Naval GSM w. "PG 1909-14" (Hyacinth), 1914-15 St, LS&GC, Russian Silver Medal of St.George (unnamed but numbered), all British medals were named to AB James Boyd Hendry Anderson (ON 192430 Ch.). The medals were sewn on a piece of uniform cloth, for wear, and I had them re-ribboned; his BWM and Vict. were not originally included but added loose. I kept the old ribbons...

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Certainly many Gallipoli DCM recipients received crosses of the Order of St. George or Bravery Medals ( with St. George Ribbon). I remember one to the Gloucesters who received a 1st class Bravery medal.

Paul

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Once owned a WWI group to Captain 'Branny' Branfoot, 37th Lancers, IA who had a Roumanian Order of the Crown with his trio. Wondered why - no evidence he's ever even met a Roumanian. Cilff Parrett, then living in Singapore, met a fellow officer of the 37th who said 'Brayyn' had been recommended for the MC but hadn't quite made the cut and that various Allied embassies shopped round bags of decorations which were awarded as 'consolation prizes' and, presumably, to show solidarity with the gallant British.

One wonders if the Russian awards were given on the same basis: 'if he won the XXX for bravery, we shall recognize the award with a YYY of ours as well.' Not meant to detract, BTW, from any of these awards, but it explains, at least to me, why relatively low ranking British servicemen got foreign awards without any obvious connection to the awarding nations. Probably kept military attaches busy too, combing through the London Gazette and the French equivalent, to identify worthy recipients of Russian, Italian, Brazilian... awards.

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It's quite interesting how many people received awards from Nation where they had been nowhere near. With the Russian awards there was a whole tranche for Gallipoli and for the Battle of Jutland there were a large number of St Stanislaus's issued to the officers and Zeal medals to other ranks. I am not sure how they were allocated, whether with Jutland and Gallipoli it was the Russian government said we are allocating x orders for officers and y medals for other ranks and then the allocation was sorted out by British government I am not sure, there are of course Russian awards given for service in Russia for example the Naval Armoured Car Division in 1916. If any one has any thoughts on how the Russian awards were distributed I would be interested to hear.

All the best,

Paul

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An afterthought. Don't I remember reading on this forum and elsewhere that the British government would not award a medal to a British soldier if another government had already given one for the same action? If so, how does that track with this dialogue? Did it come into effect after WW I, perhaps because of some of these anomalies?

H

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If Branfoot's story is true, it would suggest that the 'other' governments gave the medals/orders to the British to award, presumably with the caveat 'Give us a list of who gets them'. I can see, post wat especially, governments not wanting to 'double dip' on awards but for WWI it looks as if that must have happened pretty regulalry. Otherwise, how does one explain, for example, Russian medals for Jutland. Not likely any Russian observers aboard the fleet, so either they used British records of who wree there and 'worthy' or...?

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